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Why Sexual Assault Causes PTSD

Grewal Law PLLC

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental issue where someone has a hard time recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Unfortunately, many people who have PTSD don’t realize what they’re going through, but identifying what causes the disorder can help. In this blog post, Grewal Law will examine why PTSD develops in survivors of sexual assault.

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and conversations about the topic;
  • Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, memories, and nightmares;
  • Hyperarousal of emotions resulting in insomnia, outbursts, and lack of concentration;
  • Changes in behavior like losing interest in activities, feeling distant from others, and trouble feeling positive.

The symptoms of PTSD are normal for anyone who experiences a traumatic event, but when these symptoms don’t go away with time, or when these symptoms drastically impact the quality of one’s life, the person is likely affected by PTSD.

Why Sexual Trauma Causes PTSD

Researchers believe the brain suppresses an overload of emotional stimuli by “shutting off” while witnessing or experiencing trauma. Rape and other forms of sexual assault understandably create myriads of strong negative emotions, and the brain sometimes shuts down to cope with the situation.

While shut down can be useful during a moment of trauma, it can impact one’s ability to cope with what happened after the fact appropriately. If the shut down is severe enough, it can create a case of PTSD in the survivor. Therefore, PTSD stems from a misfiring of the brain’s natural defense mechanisms.

Getting the Help You Need

If you or a loved one is affected by PTSD as a result of sexual assault, counseling and mental exercises are almost always a necessary part of recovery. Unfortunately, these services are often costly, and many people have no choice but to suffer through the pain due to lack of funds. However, a sexual assault attorney may be able to help you receive funds for recovery and emotional damages by holding your abuser accountable.

If you’d like to hear more information about holding your abuser accountable in a court of law, call (888) 211-5798 now for a free consultation for your case.

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